Nama’s chef serves French cuisine with a Japanese influence – a winning combo.
I had the absolute pleasure of visiting Bordeaux on my last summer Europe tour. I have been to Paris several times, traveled through the south of France, and spent a month on the French Riviera – but Bordeaux was still on my list. I had always imagined Bordeaux to be nothing but wine vineyards, and up until recent years, that was sort of all the city did offer. However, Bordeaux is now alive with rich culture and booming with metropolitan growth.
The people are friendly and you don’t have to be fluent in French to feel at home here. This walkable city offers so much to see as you wander the narrow streets. Great food stops on every corner, more wine than you will know what to do with, and an allure that not many cities have. “This Bordeaux is new,” we were told by a local guide, “…up until a few years ago many of the buildings were totally black from dirt, and it’s only recently the mayor has been cleaning up the city.” I recommend staying in the city center so you can walk to everything. No need for a car or a cab. They do have Uber though if you’re planning on wearing heels.
We, of course, took that not-to-be-missed wine tour (which I will share in a new post with tips for the best experience so don’t miss it coming up!) I was able to see all those wine fields I had always heard about. They did not disappoint. Endless wine country. Make sure to visit on a weekday because on the weekends 90% of the wineries are closed. Plan this well in advance, if you want to visit some of the more prestigious ones.
When it comes to food there are lots of choices. Try going off the beaten path and find a local spot. One experience that stood out to me was a dinner at Nama restaurant. At this particular restaurant, they honor a custom called Omakase. A Japanese tradition where the chef chooses your menu for you. The chef serves French cuisine with a Japanese influence – a winning combo. I loved the idea of no menu, it’s not too often you walk into a restaurant and have zero choices to make. I was in. What was even more exciting was something they offered called the “wine battle.” For each course, we were given 2 wines from different regions. It was up to us to guess which was which. We played a few rounds and won! Our prize – a glass of beautiful champagne. The owner, Patrick Herreyre, was friendly and fun. As we moved from course to course he would playfully challenge us to see if we could guess what was in each dish. My favorite part, of course, dessert. It was a meal, and an experience, I will never forget.
I will be back Bordeaux, and for all of you who have been wanting to check it out, do it. You will fall in love. The best time to visit is during the summer months. Have you been before? What did you enjoy most? I would love to hear your stories. Comment below and happy traveling!
Reservations to Nama can be made through their website.
Photos: Denise Poole